Avant-Garde 2Baba and Postcolonial Nigeria

2baba

2face Idibia (2Baba) is one of the most remarkable musical artistes the Nigerian nation and Africa have produced since the turn of the 21st century. With six albums: Face 2 Face (2004), Grass 2 Grace (2006), The Unstoppable (2008), The Unstoppable (International Edition, 2010), Away and Beyond (2012) and The Ascension (2016) and with numerous singles that have spanned approximately two decades in the music industry, 2Baba could be said to have met virtually all the requirements for induction into not just the national canon but the continental and world musical canons. Beyond being demonstrated in his number of reputable national and international awards and ambassadorial investitures, 2Baba, with the exception of the classic Fela, is arguably the most important, the most recommended, the most featured, the most listened to, the most imitated and the most critiqued African musician since his solo entrance in 2004, having been with a band since 1997. 

There is no topical discourse about Nigeria and Africa at large that 2Baba has not addressed in his songs– be it socio-political, socio-economic, socio-cultural and socio-religious. 2Baba addresses all these in his songs, earning him the appellation of “The People’s Musician”, a title which only Fela enjoys even at death.

2face Idibia is a socially committed musician and unarguably the leading exponent of the new Nigerian, people-oriented music, having sufficiently demonstrated his talent as a modern African super griot. This is essentially the reason he has been able to announce himself so glowingly to the music world; it is not that he has composed and sung about subjects other musicians have not sung about; it is mainly that he has drilled exciting, gripping, passionate and purely human stories out of these subjects. 2Baba, no doubt, can be and has actually been associated with certain strong socio-political ideals contrary to some unfounded opinions. He is an ardent advocate of peace, freedom, equality and human rights, and a crusader for the actualization of a generally acceptable socio-political status for the human community. These and more positive humanistic orientations we can so glean from his corpus.

2Baba has met and sustained our collective optimism that Nigerian music, like its sister literature and other arts can make meaningful impact in cultural reorientation; that Nigerian music can continue to be a useful tool in changing men and institutions by being more creative than critical. He recognizes the imperative of creating models for the people to follow through his lyrics. He has demonstrated his regard for art as a sacred responsibility, the ultimate use of which is to create a vision that will give society some hope and confidence in itself. Hence, against uninformed opinions that 2Baba is indifferent to the sociopolitical realities in his Nigerian nation, this essay holds that 2Baba, on the contrary, is actively involved in the race to salvage the entire African continent from neocolonialism and other negative vices threatening its free existence.

This article was written by Ifesinachi Nwadike


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